Saturday, August 24, 2013

Womens Ashes 2nd ODI at Hove

I decided to go to the Women's Ashes ODI at Hove. The match was held on Friday 23rd August 2013 and was an important one.

The first match was a four day affair held at the beautiful Wormsley ground. I had been to this on the second day and after a batting collapse by England's top order players, it became a question of trying avoid a loss and stick it out for a draw. This led to a very boring match for spectators with mainly dot balls and a run rate of about 10 runs an hour.
If we were looking for an example of how good a spectacle Women's cricket is, then this was not it.
I did not attend days three or four but a draw was the result with two points awarded to both sides.

The Ashes would now be decided over the upcoming three ODI's and three T20 matches.
I could not get to Lords but Australia won the match and took a 4-2 lead in the series.
So the 2nd ODI at Hove was important as a win for England would square the series at 4-4 points, whereas a loss would bring about a four point deficit.

I was going by train from Woking via Clapham junction and Brighton.
As usual the 9:13 train from Woking to Clapham was standing room only.
I eventually arrived at Hove Station at just gone 10:30am and the match was due to start at 10:45.
It was not too far from the ground although I had never visited it before. It took me ages to find a way in because the ground is completely surrounded by houses and apartment blocks. So when I eventually got in I had missed the first four overs and apparently these were the best four overs with England's Heather Knight scoring strongly, ably assisted by her skipper Charlotte Edwards.

Charlotte Edwards takes a swing
After a rapid score of 31 of just 26 balls Heather Knight was caught by Meg Lanning off the bowling of M Schutt. England total was 45 at this point and here is Sarah Taylor coming on at 3 to try to add to the runs.
Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards both scored freely. Here they talk tactics between overs.

I was finding the sun a bit hot and so moved to a shaded seat at the Sea end. I have never been to a ground with a Sea end before.
Sarah Taylor had to defend some balls.
Another over completes.
My view from the "Sea end".
A little light refreshment.
Sarah Taylor was then bowled by Jess Jonassen for 32 when the total was 115.
Lydia Greenway came on as the replacement.
Charlotte needed to help an Umpire sort the stumps out.
Charlotte Edwards eventually fell to the bowling of Jess Jonassen for a very good 53 runs scored.
Arran Brindle joined the fray and after a nervous start the runs began to flow.
Lydia Greenway and Aaron Brindle take a drinks break.
The innings progressed and the scoreboard kept ticking over, although rather slowly at times.
At the end of the 50 overs, England had managed to score a very creditable 256 with a cameo performance from England debutante Natalie Sciver.
Jenny Gunn and Natalie Sciver walk off the field at the end of the England innings.
At the start of the Australian Women's innings both Meg Lanning and Rachel Haynes were finding it tough going with very determined bowling from Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole.
In fact it was soon 2 for 2 with both opening batsman out for a duck. This was not the start Australia needed with Jess Cameron and Jodie Fields at the crease well before they expected to be.
Wickets kept tumbling and Australia were always below the required run rate.
Natalie Sciver had already proven her worth both with the bat and in the field and now she was given a chance to bowl.
It was only for one over but I was impressed by her commitment.
Wickets were still falling and the new Australian glamour bowler Holly Ferling came on as 11th man.
She did well but was soon caught by Jenny Gunn from the bowling of Holly Colvin.
Spectators assemble for the man of the match presentation. As I was walking towards the presentation I met Lydia Greenway's dad. I had met him a few times before in Australia and at the previous test match in Bankstown. Lydia had done well today and scored 46 runs.
The teams await the decision.
Jess Cameron's excellent top score of 81 for Australia was in the running, but the Umpires thought that Anya Shrubsole deserved the award for her 10 overs, 1 wicket and 1 maiden for just 27 runs. It was Meg Lannings wicket that she got.
It is now 4 points each in the Ashes series with it all to play for at the final ODI also being held at Hove on Sunday.
At the end of the match I decided to walk down to the beach as it was less than a mile away. A walk along the prom to Brighton seemed like a good idea.
I have only got to walk as far as that distant pier on this warm and humid evening.
A steel band at a promotional event on Brighton beach.
A glimpse of Brighton seafront.
The old pier.
I headed into Brighton town. It turned out that the station was at the top of a fairly steep hill and a long way from the seafront.
As I walked through Brighton there seemed to be a sub culture where there were very few native English speakers. I did feel a bit out of place as I walked briskly up the hill.
I arrived at the station and my body was overheating. Unfortunately when I boarded the London train at 18:52, I was surprised to find it so crowded. I got a seat but soon the carriage was full. The temperature in there must have been 100 degrees F and I could not cool down. There was a young couple sat opposite me and they had a Dachshund on their lap. It looked like a nice dog and I was going to ask them about it but then realised that they speaking in an Eastern European tongue so I kept quiet.
Once the train got under way, an Asian lady sat next to me starting snoring in my ear so I decided that it was time to put my earphones on and listen to some music. The train never did cool down. At Clapham I was grateful for some relatively cool and fresh air. Another train ride followed by bus ride got me home.
It had been an interesting day and a good result for the England women.

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